BIG BAY - Another school in Marquette County has become an official Michigan Green School.
The Powell Township School District officially raised its green school flag Thursday, signalling the district's commitment to protecting the environment.
"I think as a school we have really worked toward getting our students to appreciate the nature around us," said teacher Kathy Wright. "We think it's a really important part of their (the students') education."
In order to become a "green" school, the school must submit an application to Michigan Green Schools program, documenting the steps that have been taken to make the school more environmentally friendly.
The program has established a set of 20 points, with each school needing to complete 10 in order to be considered a green school.
The points include everything from recycling paper to having an energy savings program to establishing native bird and plant habitats.
"We had to document how our school met those points," Wright said. "We recycle batteries and we had an energy audit done at the school."
Wright said the district hoped to expand its recycling program in the fall. In addition, older students in the district also participate in water monitoring with the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.
Overall, getting students outside to experience nature and the environment first hand is a big part of education at Powell Township.
The Michigan Green Schools program provides activity ideas and resources for schools to implement. Since Michigan touches four of the Great Lakes, the program puts special emphasis on issues that impact those bodies of water.
Wright said the district first began exploring the idea of becoming a green school with the help of the Marquette-Alger Reginal Education Support Agency. The Negaunee High School is as an official green school, as is Superior Central school - the first school in the U.P. to achieve the designation. Currently all but two counties in the U.P. have a green schools coordinator.
Begun in 2006, the program started with 18 participating schools. Last year 389 schools became official green schools, with over 500 total schools participating this academic year.
For more information on the green schools program, visit www.michigangreenschools.us.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.